Introducing Our 2023 Editorial Themes

By February 02, 2023

Burnaway is excited to announce our 2023 editorial themes. We invite proposals for long-form essays, features, interviews, and artist projects tied to three themes that will organize the magazine’s publishing activities throughout the year. Unlike years past, we are shifting our model to center one theme every four months, to intensify and deepen the magazine’s editorial focus.

The first theme is CONSPIRACY. Conspiracy is defined as an agreement between two or more people. The word is perhaps best understood in the phrase: “I sing in unison.” Con– means “with” or “together,” and spiro means “I breathe,” literally translating to “I breathe together with others.” 

Our first theme for the year interrogates the experiences that construct our lives, systems of relation, and landscapes across the South. Along those lines, we are thinking about absurdities in nature, doubles/dopplegangers, grassroots organizing and mutual aid, unexplained or rarely discussed phenomena, queering archives and maps, the clandestine, music genres and bands, trends and *core, forgery, fakes, and microdosing crime.

The next theme is CAMOUFLAGE. A protective form of artifice or replication, camouflage is tactical confusion. In nature, there are five types of camouflage: color matching, disruptive coloration, self-decoration, active camouflage, and mimicry. These address ways in which someone or something is visually indistinguishable from its context, but include the alteration of behavior like code-switching. While camo as a pattern might be associated with hunting culture, camouflage more broadly speaks to the permeability of the Southern landscape and its inhabitants in the way that one becomes or informs the other.

Think: costuming, disguise, manipulated pattern or texture, razzle dazzle, site-specificity, foiled surveillance, things that are almost invisible and perceptual trickery of all kinds.

The final theme is CURRENT. Often associated with the present-day and contemporary, this theme supplies the opportunity to approach topical work with a long-view. Within and outside of the South, questions around temporality, relevance, and anachronism have persisted since Reconstruction. Though, rather than stay fixed in the age-old question — Is the South Obsolete? — Current explores the South’s metaphysical nature as a living archive. The theme exists dually as a spatiotemporal metric: a means of fluid existence and a meteorological pursuit.

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Thinking here of current as a passageway, of Langston Hughes bearing witness to how his soul has grown deep like the rivers, of the affective resonances that lie deep within the ocean, sea, and gulf. Also, airways, forecasting, wave as a form, the act of existing in the wake, threads across social media, energy and circuitry, the en vogue.

While submissions for CONSPIRACY have closed, we will be reviewing pitches for CAMOUFLAGE and CURRENT through June 16. 

To submit, please send a brief proposal by email to [email protected].

Proposals should be for long-form essays, interviews, experimental art criticism, visual projects, or other ambitious forms of writing about art. Proposals should include two samples of previous writing.

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